The spare tire rack, modified cross-brace and custom shift linkage are essentially done. I still plan to collar the bent tube where it meets the frame rails, and I’ll probably scratch-coat it with 400 grit before shooting the whole rear frame black again just before final (re)assembly. But it’s mainly done.


Here’s what we got:


It’s not a perfect likeness of any version of the real deal but we’re at the point now, I think, where members of the .0003 percent of the population who know what the last three feet of the inside of a 550 Spyder are supposed to look like would be moved to pause and check this out. If Wendler had linked the shock towers instead of bracing them with yet another bit of 2-inch tube to the diagonal brace, this is what they’d have ended up with.

I took a trip to JoAnn Fabric to get a small brass belt buckle for the leather straps—they advertise one that looks right for $3.99 for a two-pack. But it was out of stock, so that little detail will have to wait.

Next on the agenda was installing the outer bearing spacers and re-mounting the rear wheels so I can roll the car off the lift. I got them in easily enough, spread a bit of grease on the paper gasket and the o-rings that Sartwell installed, dabbed a little blue locktite on the bolts and torqued them to the requisite 36 pounds.

Then just for shits n’ giggles I got out the rear calipers and tried them on for size.




Jimmy had said something about having put back the caliper mounts the way he got them. Now I see why he sounded dubious: the caliper blocks the shock absorber.

I called Jimmy to make sure I could do what i knew I had to: clock the caliper 90 degrees to the right. He said no problem but to make sure the axles don’t pop out too far. Apparently there is some kind of part inside that will fall off if you let the half shafts dangle out too far, necessitating R&R of the axle tubes.

I took off the end plates and tapped the caliper mounts with a mallet. When they broke free I cleaned off all the yellow glue Jimmy had put on the back. It wasn’t much. A little scraping, a wire brush. Trying desperately to keep all this stuff clean so it won’t leak later. I dabbed a little Permatex red where the yellow stuff was, then dabbed a little more on the paper gaskets, and then put it all back the way I got it, except with the caliper mounts at 12 o’clock instead of nine. Jimmy put washers on the driver side bolts and none on the passenger side. I forgot to ask why….


Thirty-six pounds.

With that done it was on to the rotors. These have those racy long studs installed, but they’re just in loose. So I got out the red locktite and tightened them.


The big castle nut is supposed to be torqued to 270 ft-pounds. Without this handy-dandy torque multiplier I’d just be spinning the axles until I could get an e-brake installed: there’s never enough weight in a Spyder to torque them with the cheater bar.


Set her down…


And then decided to bounce on the motor-mount cross bar to un-tuck the wheels…

Which caused the prop rod under the clamshell to spin free.

Which caused the clam to crash backwards onto the shark-fin steel plate that slots in the end of the lift to keep cars from rolling off.

Which meant


And that’s it. It’ll come out when I block sand. I looked for other damage, cracks at the hinges, anything. There’s nothing. I was amazed.






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